Rahane: Prithvi should play as he has been doing for Mumbai

India's vice-captain was guarded on the two-way battle between Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal for the vacant opening slot alongside K. L. Rahul.

Mumbai batsmen Ajinkya Rahane and Prithivi Shaw during a practice session.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

Will Prithvi Shaw be the 72nd cricketer from Mumbai to don the whites for India when the first Test against West Indies gets underway here on Thursday?

It almost looks certain, though the Indian team management doesn’t wish to clear the air yet. After all, two brightest talents of Indian cricket — Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal — are in the line for the coveted spot, and revealing the ‘secret’, with just two days before the match, may not be the right thing.

Read: Time for India to find its unified voice

So, even at the pre-tournament media conference, India’s vice-captain, Ajinkya Rahane, kept the suspense alive, making it clear that they still ‘don’t know the combination’. But even then, there is a strong buzz that the Mumbai batsman could well be handed the Test cap. There is also a belief that both Mayank and Prithvi could be given a chance.

“But there is no pressure, it is an opportunity for every individual to express ourselves. I wish him good luck and I am sure he will do well. I just want Prithvi to play as he has been doing for Mumbai and India A and I think he will be fine,” Rahane said.

The 18-year-old has been the cynosure of all eyes for a while now, and his consistency has brought him this close to an India debut. And even Rahane admitted that the youngster should not be changing his attacking batting style. “I have seen him (Prithvi) since his young days, we used to practice together, he is an attacking opener and has done well for India A and got the reward,” he said.

This has been a year of success for Shaw. From being the captain of India’s World Cup-winning U-19 team to being called up for the Test series against England — the Mumbai boy has seen it all. And Rahane pointed out that it is a chance for youngsters like him.

“Youngsters like Prithvi, Mayank and Siraj have all done well in domestic cricket. So as a batsman they can score runs, as a bowler they can pick wickets. It is all about going out there and giving your best without thinking much about future,” he added.

In the past, Indian cricket has seen quite a few slips between the cup and the lip, and when Virat Kohli walks into the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Thursday, the Indian fans would eagerly be waiting to see the name of an 18-year-old batsman in the team list.

And as Rahane points out, ‘it is a good opportunity’!